Offense Stays Hot as Pioneers Complete Season-Opening Alaska Sweep

If you thought #4 Denver’s (2-0-0, 0-0-0 NCHC) season-opening 7-3 romp over the Alaska Nanooks (0-2-0) on Saturday was impressive, then you certainly thought the follow-up performance was too. DU’s 5-2 victory to complete the sweep was nearly identical to game one.

Just like Saturday, Alaska scored first, Denver followed with five unanswered goals (four on Saturday), and Alaska scored a garbage-time goal that made no difference in the outcome (DU happened to add three goals in the third on Saturday instead of just one). Denver, once again, put on an offensive clinic to close out the sweep and outscore the Nanooks 12-5 over the course of the weekend.

If there’s one place to nitpick with this Denver team through just two games, it could be their starts. Allowing the opposition to strike first consistently is a formula for consistently bad results, especially as the opposition gets stronger (i.e., the trip to New England in two weeks to take on Providence and Boston College). However, when you have an offensive attack as potent as the Pioneers do, it makes falling behind early much less of an issue.

Last night, it was Kent Anderson and Boston Buckberger who each tallied their first career goals to respond. Tonight, it was Tristan Broz who got the Pioneers off the schneid with under a minute left in the first and tied the game at 1. Freshman defenseman and brother of junior defenseman Shai, Zeev Buium tallied his own first career goal early in the middle frame before Jack Devine scored his third and fourth goals of the weekend, both on the power play to round out a 3-0 second-period and send the Pios to the final frame up 4-1. Massimo Rizzo assisted on each of the Pios’ first four goals – a career-best mark – to bring his weekend assist total to seven.

Freshman forward Kieran Cebrian tallied his first career goal in the first half of the third period to become the fourth Pioneer to notch his first career goal this weekend. Cebrian’s shorthanded goal was just icing on the cake for the Pioneers as they coasted to their second-straight victory.

Matt Davis was tabbed with the start again and played admirably.  At least according to the official scorer, Denver’s shot-generation ability in game two left a lot to be desired as they were outshot 29-16 by Alaska and 59-38 in shot attempts. In the first and third periods, they were outshot 9-2 and 14-4, respectively, and Davis kept every Nanook except Chase Dubois, who bookended the game with his two goals – off the scoresheet.

Denver – without David Carle this weekend as he was home awaiting the birth of his second child – now has two weeks to make the long trip back to the Mile High City from Fairbanks and get ready for their first real test of the season in the northeast. #18 Providence split with #3 Michigan in a 4-2 win and 5-4 loss at Yost Arena while #6 Boston College topped defending national champion #2 Quinnipiac in a low-scoring, 2-1 victory in Hamden, CT. As they proved a year ago, Alaska certainly is no slouch but the caliber of DU’s opponents improves dramatically next weekend and it will be the first real test for a young Pioneers team that features 10 freshmen.


3 thoughts on “Offense Stays Hot as Pioneers Complete Season-Opening Alaska Sweep”

  1. The Good:

    Road sweep and a very good DU start to the season against UAF program that nearly made the NCAAs last season as an independent.

    DU was very surgical and opportunistic last night, scoring five goals on just 16 shots in the game. Great to see Devo with four goals now in two games, Rizzo with 7 apples already on the season, and Cebrian opening his DU account with a shorty last night — something I don’t think any Pio did last season. Zeev Buium is still 17 years-old and scored his first, which a nice start to his DU career. Also nice to see the DU PK go a perfect 6-6.

    The Bad:

    DU fell behind for the second night in a row, as UAA scored first. Poor starts, as Nick pointed out, are not a recipe for long-term success and this was a sometimes problem for DU last year, too.

    The Ugly:

    The Pios were both outshot and out-face-offed by two-to-one margins by UAF, which is also not a recipe for long-term success. They have two weeks of practice to work on this before heading to New England for games against BC and Providence on Oct 20-21. These are huge tests for DU on the road — top tier opponents who both beat the Pios two seasons ago (the last time the Pios ventured to New England in the regular season).

  2. Bruins announced their roster, Danton Heinen made the cut, he’s back with the Coach Monty and his terrible tribe of bumblebee colored men 🙂 — Chase

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